Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews German Matters Penwith West Cornwall (and local history)

Exhibition at the Redwing Gallery, Penzance

St Ives-based multi media artist Mary Fletcher has co-ordinated an interesting exhibition in The Redwing Gallery, Penzance on behalf of volunteers at the venue. This runs until the end of January and has already received positive reviews such as that by the well-known local poet and commentator, Frank Ruhrmund. Writing in the CornishmanVau6 at, he states about the exhibition and the co-ordinator herself, “A gallery renowned for its support and promotion of outsider art, it is not all that surprising that Mary Fletcher should feel at home there. It is only two years since, for the first time in her long career, that she has been able to enjoy a working space outside of her house, at White’s Old Workshops in Porthmeor Road, St Ives. Many will recall her solo show held last year in the St Ives Arts Club Arts which celebrated her first year in her new working space.”

Mary Fletcher at The Redwing
Mary Fletcher at The Redwing

The relaxed atmosphere in The Redwing owes something to its bohemian ambience and partly due to its secluded location. The comfortable seating, bookstands and available refreshments all add to the effect. Here, Peter Fox and Ros Williams, co-directors of the Redwing Gallery, have created a space which is primarily concerned with outsider art. The current exhibition certainly adds to the general comfortable charm of the space. Mary Fletcher’s lyrical canvases remind me of an excellent and memorable exhibition by Litz Pisk who had worked at the Old Vic Theatre School (b.1909 in Vienna) many years ago at Newlyn Art Gallery. Interestingly, a student of Max Reinhardt, Pisk designed for Brecht and Weil’s first

Figures by Litz Pisk (not at The Redwing)
Figures by Litz Pisk (not at The Redwing)

production.  and also her film work for Isodora is at Mary Fletcher’s paintings too look a little like dancing musical characters against a colourful background grid.Vau4 There are also a number of interesting sculptures and small figurines in the exhibition which are also worthy of attention.

Once again, Vaughan Warren, educated at the Royal Academy Schools (The RA Schools was founded in 1769, and remains independent to this day. This independence enables the Schools to offer the only three-year postgraduate programme in Europe.) has turned in a range of varied and intriguing work. Two of his pictures, I found particularly appealing, although it is worth remarking that all his paintings, like his self-portrait in the manner of Cezanne, benefit from his wide knowledge of art history. The first portrays a sleeping head surmounted delicately  above a breast in a transport of lovely colours. This evocative duo puts one in mind of those lovely lines from W.H.Auden:-Vau3

“Lay your sleeping head, my love,

Human on my faithless arm;

Time and fevers burn away

Individual beauty from

Thoughtful children, and the grave

Proves the child ephermeral:

But in my arms till break of day

Let the living creature lie,

Mortal, guilty, but to me

The entirely beautiful.”


The second painting,energetic and interesting, executed in black, white and greys shows a view above St Just and looks down literally upon, in the distance, the Great Western Hunt in progress. As Wilde once remarked, ” The Unspeakable in Pursuit of the Uneatable”. The unspeakable in this context means appalling, horrendous, wretched and indeed may remind one of another poem of Auden’s in quite another way:-

From Musée des Beaux Arts (1940)

Vau7“Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy
life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.”


Mr Vaughan Warren
Mr Vaughan Warrent Admission is free, and this show by the gallery’s volunteers can be seen in the Redwing Gallery, Wood Street, off Market Jew Street, Penzance, 11am to 4pm.


By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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